FEBRUARY 16 2010 11:48h
Elvis sightings reminds one of irrational needs of various officials who claim to have “sighted” or “uncovered” evasive Knin artillery logs.
Every astute and interested observer of life finds connections in the most unexpected places. A shooting star on a cold November night might take one’s thoughts to a secret teenage rendezvous in the woods, back when you had to sneak out somewhere to steal a simple kiss, and Elvis Presley naturally makes one think of artillery logs.
Everything one wishes to know about Elvis Presley can be found on the Internet. There are hundreds of websites, and several of them are devoted solely to post-mortem sightings of the famous rock n’roller. The King, dead for decades now, clearly lives on in the hearts of his devoted fans who, for a variety of complex psychological reasons, are unable to mourn his loss or cope with the absence of a valued person or possession, and therefore insist on “seeing” him in any number of strange locations on every continent of the world. By one account, he has been sighted fishing in the Salmon River in Idaho, and in another, serving fish and peas at a local grill restaurant in Ohio. Another swore that Elvis’ image appeared on the wall of his shower stall, complete with sideburns, and a farmer in Woolongong, Australia, observed him in a sequined jumpsuit, cursing at a tractor that would not start up. He was in Berlin later, talking to the driver of a horse-drawn carriage, and eating a fried bacon and banana sandwich in San Clemente, California. When a customer asked if he was Elvis as he stood next to him in a urinal in Montreal, he said “No, actually I’m Ted Kennedy.”
The deeply rooted psychological obsessions of the Elvis fans brings to mind similar irrational needs of various officials who claim to have “sighted” or “uncovered” Knin artillery logs in any number of bizarre sites: a soldier’s “coded” letter home: “Mom, ten of my fellow soldiers were blown up today in an ambush by the paramilitaries…there were body parts everywhere.” (note: obvious reference to ten thousand artillery shells being rained upon the occupied city), in an old boot in a deserted shed, or in the mysterious lyrics of a new Thompson song, played backwards of course. The failure to make a concrete “appropriation”, however, means much more to these officials than the loss of a beloved crooner to a devoted Elvis fan; it spells the end to their inflated salaries, ubiquitous media presence, and ability to threaten and blackmail in all the arenas of power, from the Hague to Brussels to Washington, D.C. It must be frustrating. But the problem lies, really, in the very definition of artillery logs. According to one, “they are done by experts specializing in the field of artillery, and on the basis of these logs, one can gain an insight into the targets hit, weaponry used, ammunition, units, place, and person who performed the hit”.
Imagine the difficulty finding a document that small, given that the city of Knin sustained minimal damage and there was only one, accidental civilian death. The log, real or imaginary, would fit easily in a bee’s ear or on the head of a pin. Elvis, at least, was substantially larger prior to his death, thanks in part to his addiction to fried bacon and banana sandwiches, and thus much easier to “sight”. If on the other hand the myriad log seekers were searching for, say, the coalition forces’ Iraqi or Afghani artillery logs, imagine how much more rewarding the search would be. They would be visible from the farthest craters of the moon! An estimated 600,000 Iraqi civilians killed, 2,500,000 displaced inside Iraq, 2,400,000 displaced outside Iraq, 70% Iraqis without adequate water supply…. But these logs, which could easily paper the Great Wall of China, have not been located, because these logs, if they even exist, have not been requested by a single one of the bloated officials of this or that office or agency or court or tribunal now attempting to “establish whether an inappropriate amount of artillery force” was used to liberate a little town called Knin in occupied Croatia.
It’s always nice to close with a quote from somebody wiser than oneself, and this one fits perfectly the artillery log farce we are now witnessing: “Politics, and the fate of mankind, are shaped by men without ideals and without greatness.” (Albert Camus)